Back to the Skills
By SEAC (available
here in pdf)
Organizing an event on your campus or in your community can be
a great way to build morale within your group, build your campaign,
and let the rest of the world know what your group is up to.
Event Planning Nuts & Bolts
Decide what you want to do. Dream up and brainstorm an
event that will benefit your group and will impact a target
audience (small or large) effectively. You can do this at a group
meeting, individually, or brainstorm during a class. Remember you
can always change and improve your initial ideas!
the idea by the group. See what they think of the idea; see if they
have the energy, financial resources, and willpower to put on the
event. If they don’t you can always work with other groups
to make your vision a reality. If possible try to develop a goal
at this point: Raise Awareness, Promote Something, Have Fun, or
out if you want to include other groups (campus organizations, community
organizations, local government, or whomever) and see what resources
(volunteer time, financial resources, etc) they can offer. Remember
that sometimes less is better.
a place and time. When you do this be realistic. Do you want to
make it a small deal or a grand event? You can use previous events
to gauge size and audience. Give yourself some time to let things
fall into place. For most small events a month is probably enough
time, while the bigger events you should plan far ahead! No matter
how far ahead you plan, it will come faster than you think it will.
Check to see if the location is available (make sure no one else
has the facility reserved, make sure it can accommodate the crowd,
and make sure it is accessible to your target audience). If you
have a speaker or performer make sure that the time and place works
for them. Check to make sure that the performer has everything he/she
needs to be able to perform at the event.
you have the time, location and idea in place you’re really
trucking. That is usually the hardest part of the whole process.
Now you need to publicize. Publicity can
be tricky; you need to really think about who the target audience
is. Do you want this open to the general public, college students
only, or a more specific audience?
everything at this point. Make sure you have filled out any necessary
paperwork; make sure you confirm the facility and special arrangements
(i.e. special chair set-up, table set-up, etc). If you verify the
details before you publicize you won’t have to worry about
changing anything at the last minute. Make sure all co-sponsors
are aware of the time, location and the need for volunteers if necessary.
Remember each event is special and may require special attention.
if you want to do any last minute adjustments. Some ideas include
collecting money for a related charity, having educational PowerPoint
slides prior to the event, having a sign-up sheet for interested
people, etc. Sometimes the event motivates people to take action
and you’ll want to be ready with suggestions for how folks
can get involved. This is also a good time to talk with your group
to determine what else is on your agenda for the coming weeks/months.
If you’re going to be having another big event some time soon,
the event you’re planning now would probably be a good place
to publicize that; so make sure to have the date and location figured
out in advance so that you can make up a flier or give an announcement
about the upcoming event.
flop for preventable reasons
back-up plans. No matter how good you may be at planning an event
be prepared for the worst. If you expect and prepare for the worst
you’ll be ready for anything! Ideas include having extra volunteers
on hand, having a rain site available if your event is supposed
to take place outdoors, and having tape, scissors and everything
you might possibly need ready just in case. You may not need these
things but it’s easier to carry some extra supplies than have
your event flop for a preventable reason.
directional signs if your event is in an odd location. Yard signs
and posters help direct people to your event. Also you might catch
people walking by that are interested in your issue/goal.
sure you have volunteers show up early to help out with last minute
set-ups, and anything else that might come up. Volunteers make the
world go round when the event organizers are busy.
the event. This is the best part of the entire process. You’ll
enjoy the event so much more since you’ll know how much effort
went into putting it on!
time. Hopefully your event was a success. Now clean up so your group
can continue having events in the same location in the future. It’s
not only your responsibility but also a nice gesture.
the energy and success from this event to do other projects and
endeavors. Follow up with the people who expressed interest in being
involved in your group. Thank the people who volunteered to make
the event a success (so that they’ll want to volunteer more
in the future), and celebrate your success with the co-organizers
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Event Planning Tips
..........• Make a timeline
for your event. If you do this far in advance you can keep up with
all the big and little dates to verify contacts, verify spaces,
notify press, etc. Without a timeline you may forget some important
last minute details.
..........• DELEGATE responsibilities.
You cannot put on a big event by yourself, you silly goose! You
need the help of as many volunteers as possible to make the event
a success. Delegating does not mean bossing people around, but getting
volunteers to do things that you won’t have time to do. By
delegating you will get more input and more creativity in your event,
and more people will feel invested in making the event a success.
..........• Make sure you have
support from your group. The more people who are interested and
have input the better the event will be.
..........• If you’re doing
anything special, notify the building director. You don’t
want to have your event shut down due to fire or health regulations
that you weren’t aware of.
..........• Get to the location
of the event early. If you cannot get there early make sure someone
who knows what is going on is there early. The earlier the better
- you can always read a book while you wait on volunteers and participants
..........• Ask the building director
for access time before and after the event. The access time will
allow for set-up and take-down of the event.
..........• Use all the resources
possible from outside parties to make your event happen. Often there
are community groups that will donate their time and money to help
your causes. Student government will usually be willing to financially
support events open to the student body, although with some restrictions.
Just remember most groups’ financial resources are limited.
..........• Think about having
fundraisers prior to your event to help fund and promote it. Bake
sales with flyers are a great way to get people interested in your
event. (The best part is you make money too.) Sometimes handing
out freebies such as candy with flyers will get people interested
too. Remember to fill out the appropriate forms if you are raising
money on campus.
..........• Remember that you
want to reach a target audience. Cater to their needs. If you think
refreshments will get a few more people it may be worth it. Sometimes
professors will give extra credit if their students attend an event.
Local schools and community centers are often a great place to publicize
..........• You will not master
the art of putting on an event the first time. It often takes trial
and error to pull off the best event possible. Take notes based
on your experiences and pass those on to the other people in your
group; this will make your group stronger with time and prevent
people from having to make the same mistakes that you did.
..........• Hope for the best
and expect the worst and you’ll probably have a successful
is an event!
Beyond the actual mechanics involved in planning a successful event,
there are decidedly less tangible components to success that may
play an equally important role. They include:
..........• The Audience.
Now that you know how large an audience you want, you need to plan
enough flyers, newspaper ads and personal contact that you attract
the right people in the right numbers. Also be sure that you reserve
a room large enough to accommodate your audience, or small enough
to make sure your meeting doesn't look like it is poorly attended.
..........• Set-up. What
you want to accomplish with your event can also determine its set-up.
Is your event educational or motivational? For instance, you would
never want to set out chairs at a rally - they tend to swallow enthusiasm,
which would definitely defeat your purpose.
Brainstorm about any possible issues or circumstances that could
arise to negatively effect the success of your program or event
- think of ways to sidestep these hurdles. Rest assured, if something
can go wrong, it will so take a proactive approach. For example,
what do you do if it rains on the day of your outdoor event, or
what if your speaker is running late?
Though these may seem apparent, they are often lost in the excitement
and anxiety that can precede an event.
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An Action Planning Training Manual by the Ruckus Society (available
here in pdf)
Direct Action in Context
Nonviolent direct action is often misunderstood and just as often
criticized. You may hear it called ineffective, un-American, or
illegal. That the effectiveness of direct action can still be debated
strains credulity. The success of Gandhi's campaigns in India or
the U.S. Civil Rights Movement should have settled the question.
Since the beginning of the modern environmental movement, the campaigns
against nuclear power, to save ancient forests, to achieve a global
ban on high-seas drift net fishing and end ocean dumping all have
incorporated significant direct action components. The American
experience is teeming with nonviolent direct action. One of the
most famous direct actions ever, the Boston Tea Party, is patriotically
taught in school. These colonial campaigns were so effective that
some argue the "shot heard 'round the world" actually
delayed American independence.
Most of the world's democracies have been created by acts of conscience
against the state. The final argument - that direct action is illegal
- is weakest. It is also illegal to break into a home. But if that
home is on fire and you fear someone will be hurt, it is OK - it
is in fact your responsibility - to break in. This is the argument
of competing harms: A smaller harm is accepted if it prevents a
greater harm from occurring.
The Functions of Direct Action
As we discuss the uses of direct action, remember one thing: almost
all successful actions occur within the context of an ongoing campaign.
This means that political - not only logistical - work has been
done before the action. This improves the chances that your action
will be understood and successful. This also means you intend to
follow up on your action. Intervention demands responsibility. Here
are some typical functions of direct action within campaigns:
..........• ANNOUNCEMENT OR ALARM.
You have learned of a situation that demands immediate attention
from the public. Your direct action is meant to shine a light on
a hidden (more likely, covered-up) danger that must not be kept
..........• REINFORCEMENT. You
have been campaigning on an issue, yet somehow the issue remains
murky to the public. You take action to clearly define the evil
or injustice, and the parties responsible.
..........• PUNCTUATION. Direct
action can be used to sustain interest in a campaign. It is a dramatic
reminder that the problem has not gone away. Direct action can serve
as a milepost - the early anti-nuclear movement marked time by Seabrook
occupations - or it may commemorate an outrage that should not be
forgotten, such as the fifth anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill,
or ten years since Chernobyl.
..........• ESCALATION. A frequent
use of direct action is to raise the stakes in an ongoing struggle.
If a group of activists who have not previously used direct action
turns to it, this sends a message that the situation has become
critical and direct action is the last remaining avenue of protest.
..........• MORALE. Sometimes
when a group has suffered a setback and morale is low - or a group
is tired from a long struggle - direct action can serve to raise
the spirits and renew the struggle.
There is no doubt that direct action is a powerful builder of morale
and community, but a word of caution. Those of us who have engaged
in direct action know its transforming effect. It leads to new discoveries
about yourself, changes and intensifies your relationship with your
fellow activists, and alters profoundly your notions of power. It
is intoxicating. But these personal-growth benefits are not the
reason for doing direct action. Your actions should strive to make
an objective change in the world - to literally change the course
of history. The change you seek is the main course of the action;
empowerment, self-awareness and community are dessert.
The Symbolic Nature of Direct Action
All actions have the same goal: to make an objective change in the
First, activists use direct action to reduce the issues to symbols.
These symbols must be carefully chosen for their utility in illustrating
a conflict: an oil company vs. an indigenous community, a government
policy vs. the public interest.
Then we work to place these symbols in the public eye, in order
to identify the evildoer, detail the wrongdoing and, if possible,
point to a more responsible option. Frequently, usually by design,
the symbolism and conflict are communicated to the wider public,
using the media. This symbolic treatment
of the issue is, in fact, at the core of action strategy, and knowing
this is key to understanding the tactic. Ultimately the real question
is: could this action make an objective change in the world?
The most important, and therefore most difficult, thing about direct
action is developing a sense of timing - when to seize a political
The second most important thing is creativity in designing an action,
and fortunately that's a bit easier. Most of us are already creative
in other areas, and this generally transfers well to direct action
- especially when you've got a group of committed, focused activists
with which to work and trade ideas.
There are a number of ways to practice creative brainstorming.
Find out which one works for your group of activists. The most crucial
factor in brainstorming, of course, is openness to new ideas from
all quarters - action leaders must be ready to accept an idea that
may come from a team member who has a "minor" role, or
is not as experienced in actions.
A close second is a commitment to stay at it until you get it right
- hours, days or longer. Brainstorm until you're dry, then analyze
what you've come up with and wait for your creative well to fill
again. Remember that formal indoor meetings are often the hardest
place to be creative. Vary the location for your strategy sessions.
Openness to new ideas also includes the ability to see good ideas
in other quarters, and appropriate them. You can't copyright an
action, so don't be afraid to steal good ideas.
Become a student of the ways other groups or individuals are taking
action. Pay special attention to direct actions by other groups,
who are doing some of the most creative stuff today. ACT-UP, homeless
activists, even Operation Rescue and the Wise Use movement, on the
other side of the ideological spectrum, have added to the tactical
development of direct action in recent years. Look for and at action
as a tactic instead of specific issues.
Finally, remember timing once again. A colleague used to say: "Timing
may not be everything, but it's damn close." Action skills
such as climbing or inflatable driving are mechanical ones and people
usually pick them up relatively quickly. A sense of timing and opportunity
is harder to develop. When examining other actions as a source of
ideas, always work to understand the timing behind them.
Although each action is different and in its course takes on a life
of its own, there are a series of more-or-less standard steps to
develop one. These steps presume that you are developing your action
within the context of an ongoing campaign:
..........1. Issue Identification and
..........2. Picking the Audience
..........3. Setting the Context
..........5. Performing the action
Issue Identification and Clarification
The public has a brief, shifting attention span and a limited ability
to absorb new information. That's why, as an activist, you must
keep your campaign and action focused and on message. You must be
able to answer three questions: Presuming your overall campaign
goals are clear, ask yourself again: Why is an action warranted
at this particular point? Does the proposed action have a reasonable
chance of benefiting the campaign – of sending a message,
moving the debate or raising its profile? What about the political
follow-up to the action: Will you be able to exploit the political
opportunity your action seeks to create? Many of us recognize that
everything is connected. But we can't attempt to campaign on everything
at once, because the public won't hear us. You must define the issues
as clearly and simply as possible. For instance, your campaign might
be against the Forest Service in general. But what are you going
to focus on right now? Clearcutting, endangered species, habitat
and clean water are all good issues, but you can't make a coherent
statement about all of them in one action. So decide which aspect
of your campaign you're going to emphasize right now. Then work
to make everything about the action - location, banner slogan, even
what your activists are wearing - speak to that.
A word about anger: A lot of us have been fighting the Forest Service,
or nukes, or whatever, for a long time, and sometimes we build up
a fair bit of righteous anger. A little anger can be a good thing.
It puts a passion in the work. But seek in your action to go beyond
expressing your anger. Let them - and the public - know why you're
angry. People sometimes get impatient with this arduous process
of issue clarification and message development. But it is an absolute
prerequisite to the next steps.
Only with a clear understanding of your campaign and the issue
can you pick the target audience, set the context, and scout, plan
and execute your direct action.
Picking the Target Audience
Picking the target audience is the next step in your action's development.
It flows directly from your understanding of what needs to happen
in the campaign at this point. In essence you're saying: "I
want my target audience to do this: " Is it the general public,
government officials, the mill operators, or the corporate executives
you’re trying to affect? Too often you may hear a defiant
comrade declare: "I'm sending a message to all of them."
Good intentions, but fuzzy politics. Such universal messages are
very rare. If you think you're sending a message to "all of
them," it often means you haven't thought through your target
audience well enough. Each action should reveal what we're against
and what we're for. We may be against several things: the mill,
the Forest Service, and the corporate suits. But each of these players
should be held specifically accountable for their specific actions.
Nailing them on the specifics - who did what, and when did they
do it - may be harder than issuing a grand indictment, but sends
a clearer message. The principle also applies when you're thinking
about what segment of the public you're trying to reach.
Setting the Context
Before making decisions about the place of action or other tactical
choices we should pause and ask ourselves: Will the action be understood?
It's an important consideration.
Actions don't occur in a void. They occur in a particular context,
and being sensitive to the context increases the chances that your
action will be understood. Do you want to do that hard-hitting action
just before Christmas, for example, when folks don't like receiving
bad news? As activists we often have a more sophisticated understanding
of an issue than the general public. Polls have consistently shown
that only about 15 percent of the American public is "interested
and informed" on any given issue. This has several consequences
for direct action campaigning. First, we have to avoid jargon –
specialized language or concepts understood in an industry of a
movement, but obscure to the general public. Second, if you want
to campaign on these more complicated issues, you must take the
time to establish the context before the action. There are many
ways to do this.
Releasing a report, holding a press conference or briefing, placing
letters to the editor or advertising, can all help to establish
context. Third and most important, it's much easier - that is, more
understandable to the public - to protest events rather than policy.
An example: You might want to send a message that the President's
nuclear policy is an ongoing disaster for the planet. In trying
to protest these policies keep your eye open for event opportunities
- a presidential visit to a nuclear research site, an accident at
a government nuclear facility, etc. Finally, for all actions, remember
the KISS rule: Keep It Short and Simple. The public has only a limited
capacity to absorb new information over the short term.
SOA Watch Handbook for Non-Violent Action and Civil Disobedience
on Nonviolent Action by Randy Schutt
Nonviolent Action by Randy Schutt
in! A Tactical Analysis by Aaron Kreider
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Your Rights to Demonstrate
An ACLU guide for demonstrators, marchers, speakers and others
who seek to exercise their First Amendment rights (available
here in pdf)
Q. Can my free speech rights be restricted
because of what I want to say – even if it’s controversial?
A. No. The First Amendment prohibits restrictions
based on the content of speech. However, this does not mean that
the Constitution completely protects all types of free speech activity
in every circumstance. Police and government officials are allowed
to place certain non-discriminatory and narrowly drawn “time,
place and manner” restrictions on the exercise of First Amendment
Q. Where can I engage in free speech activity?
A. Generally, all types of expression are constitutionally
protected in traditional “public forums” such as streets,
sidewalks and parks. In addition, your speech activity may be permitted
to take place at other public locations which the government has
opened up to similar speech activities, such as the plazas in front
of government buildings.
Q. What about free speech activity on private
A. The general rule is that free speech activity
cannot take place on private property absent the consent of the
property owner. However, in California, the courts have recognized
an exception for large shopping centers, and have permitted leafleting
and petitioning to take place in the public areas of large shopping
centers. The shopping center owners, however, are entitled to impose
regulations that, for example, limit the number of activists on
the property and restrict their activities to designated “free
speech areas.” Most large shopping centers have enacted detailed
free speech regulations that require obtaining a permit in advance.
It is unclear whether the courts will extend this “shopping
center exception” to other types of private property, such
as the walkways in front of large free-standing stores, such as
a Safeway or a Costco.
Q. Do I need a permit before I engage
in free speech activity?
A. Not usually. However, certain types of events
require permits. Generally, these events are: 1) a march or parade
that does not stay on the sidewalk and other events that require
blocking traffic or street closures; 2) a large rally requiring
the use of sound amplifying devices; or 3) a rally at certain designated
parks or plazas, such as federal property managed by the General
Many permit procedures require that the application be filed several
weeks in advance of the event. However, the First Amendment prohibits
such an advance notice requirement from being used to prevent rallies
or demonstrations that are rapid responses to unforeseeable and
recent events. Also, many permit ordinances give a lot of discretion
to the police or city officials to impose conditions on the event,
such as the route of a march or the sound levels of amplification
equipment. Such restrictions may violate the First Amendment if
they are unnecessary for traffic control or public safety, or if
they interfere significantly with effective communication with the
intended audience. A permit cannot be denied because the
event is controversial or will express unpopular views.
Q. If organizers have not obtained a permit,
where can a march take place?
A. If marchers stay on the sidewalks and obey traffic
and pedestrian signals, their activity is constitutionally protected
even without a permit. Marchers may be required to allow enough
space on the sidewalk for normal pedestrian traffic and may not
maliciously obstruct or detain passers-by.
Q. May I distribute leaflets and other literature
on public sidewalks?
A. Yes. Pedestrians on public sidewalks may be
approached with leaflets, newspapers, petitions and solicitations
for donations. Tables may also be set up on sidewalks for these
purposes if sufficient room is left for pedestrians to pass. These
types of free speech activities are legal as long as entrances to
buildings are not blocked and passers-by are not physically and
maliciously detained. No permits should be required.
Q. Do I have a right to picket on public sidewalks?
A. Yes, and this is also an activity for which
a permit is not required. However, picketing must be done in an
orderly, non-disruptive fashion so that pedestrians can pass by
and entrances to buildings are not blocked. Contrary to the belief
of some law enforcement officials, pickets are not required to keep
moving but may remain in one place as long as they leave room on
the sidewalk for others to pass.
Q. Can the government impose a financial charge
on exercising free speech rights?
A. Increasingly, local governments are imposing
financial costs as a condition of exercising free speech rights,
such as application fees, security deposits for clean-up, or charges
to cover overtime police costs. Unfortunately, such charges that
cover actual administrative costs or the actual costs of re-routing
traffic have been permitted by some courts. However, if the costs
are greater because an event is requiring a large insurance policy
– then the courts will not permit it. Also, regulations with
financial requirements should include a waiver for groups that cannot
afford the charge, so that even grassroots organizations can exercise
their free speech rights. Therefore, a group without significant
financial resources should not be prevented from engaging in a march
simply because it cannot afford the charges the City would like
Q. Can a speaker be silenced for provoking
A. Generally, no. Even the most inflammatory speaker
cannot be punished for merely arousing the audience. A speaker can
be arrested and convicted for incitement only if he or she specifically
advocates violence or illegal actions and only if those illegalities
are imminently likely to occur.
Q. Do counter-demonstrators have free speech
A. Yes. Although counter-demonstrators should not
be allowed to physically disrupt the event they are protesting,
they do have the right to be present and to voice their displeasure.
Police are permitted to keep two antagonistic groups separated but
should allow them to be within the general vicinity of one another.
Q. Is heckling protected by the First
A. Although the law is not settled, heckling should
be protected, unless hecklers are attempting to physically disrupt
an event, or unless they are drowning out the other speakers.
Q. Does it matter if other speech
activities have taken place at the same location in the past?
A. Yes. The government cannot discriminate against
activists because of the controversial content of their message.
Thus, if you can show that similar events to yours have been permitted
in the past (such as a Veterans or Memorial Day parade), then that
is an indication that the government is involved in selective enforcement
if they are not granting you your permit.
Q. What other types of free speech
activity are constitutionally protected?
A. The First Amendment covers all forms of communication
including music, theaters, film and dance. The Constitution also
protects actions that symbolically express a viewpoint. Examples
of these symbolic forms of speech include wearing masks and costumes
or holding a candlelight vigil.
However, symbolic acts and civil disobedience that involve illegal
conduct may be outside the realm of constitutional protections and
can sometimes lead to arrest and conviction. Therefore, while sitting
in a road may be expressing a political opinion, the act of blocking
traffic may lead to criminal punishment.
Q. What should I do if my rights
are being violated by a police officer?
A. It rarely does any good to argue with a street
patrol officer. Ask to talk to a superior and explain your position
to her or him. Point out that you are not disrupting anyone else’s
activity and that your actions are protected by the First Amendment.
If you do not obey an officer, you might be arrested and taken
from the scene. You should not be convicted if a court concludes
that your First Amendment rights have been violated.
Questions? Contact the American
Civil Liberties Union.
..........• See the National
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Concerned about your rights as a non-citizen? Looking for more
information that might help? Two helpful resources are:
..........• The Just
Cause Law Collective.
..........• Prefer to speak to
a human being? Call Sandhya
Banda, an immigration lawyer and Bhopal volunteer, at (408)
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There are plenty of ways you can get the word out about your action
Using the media is only one way of publicizing
your event or action, but it can be a very important step. Make
sure you use all the resources of your school paper. You can probably
use the calendar column, the letter to the editor section, and,
if you have a big event, you can perhaps convince the editors to
assign a reporter to write a story about it. Make sure to include
a contact name and number in the pieces for readers to call for
Write a media advisory, which simply states the who, what, when,
where and why of your event. Be sure to include a contact name and
number. After faxing or emailing the advisory to the calendar editor
and news desk, follow up with a phone call as it’ll increase
the chance that it’s picked up. Find out the paper's deadlines,
and get to know the staff writers because they will prove to be
a valuable resource for your group in the future.
Likewise, if your group has money, you can also take out an ad
in the paper. Most newspapers have advertising staff that can help
you put together an appealing advertisement.
Public Service Announcements are another great way to spread the
news about the event. These are concise, right-to-the-point announcements
that give just the basic who, what, why, where and when information.
They should be catchy as to grab the audience's interest and attention.
Call your local radio or cable television station, and speak with
the public service director about the station's rules on PSA submissions.
Generally, they will ask for a minimum of 3 weeks advance submission.
(It is wise to call to confirm the receipt of your PSA.) As always,
remember to send a thank you note to your contact.
Tell your friends, neighbors, family, teachers, and everyone else
you know, and ask them to pass on the message.
Put up posters and drop off pamphlets around your community, workplaces,
community centers and schools.
Text should be clear and concise. Use a contrast of fonts and typestyles
(bold, italics, etc.) to draw the eye. Graphics and cartoons are
great too, but don’t crowd it too much – you need some
white space. Show it to someone clueless and see if they get it.
If they don’t, make it simpler.
..........• The lettering needs
to solid enough to be readable from 10-20 feet away. You might want
to black it in with a marker by hand—hand-done posters can
..........• Funky colors are a
..........• If you do a series
of lectures, they need individual posters and don’t make them
in the same style—at a glance, people will think they saw
..........• For letter or phone
campaigns, you could make a poster cut into strips at the bottom
that people can tear off and take home (like a “for rent”
poster) giving the phone number or address and what to say.
..........• Make a poster that
can be used throughout the semester to advertise your weekly meetings.
..........• Be creative about
where you post—insides of bathroom stalls, garbage cans, “alternative”
hangouts, etc. Be inclusive too. Don’t ignore an area because
you think no one would be interested.
..........• Just handing posters
out at a meeting and asking people to put them up doesn’t
work very well. Assign people to specific buildings or areas of
town, and tell them when it needs to go up. As usual, the more specific
the task, the more likely it will get done.
..........• People should carry
about extras to replace those torn down.
..........• It is especially important
for posters to be up the day of the event (especially for things
like rallies), so you might consider doing a second round beforehand.
..........• Be sure to advertise
your group as well as your event.
..........• ALWAYS have someone
else proofread it.
Leaflets might include any of the following: information on an issue,
arguments for your position, suggestions for action, sources, references
for further reading, announcement of a rally or event (especially
emergency rallies) or information on when and where your group meets.
..........• At a busy time, a
person can hand out a couple hundred per hour.
..........• A lot will be thrown
away immediately—you might be able to retrieve these and reuse
..........• For mass distribution
of a simple message, you could use smaller flyers, for instance
quarter-sheet or 1/6 size.
..........• Be friendly but aggressive
- step forward and hand it to people, saying “here, can I
give you one of these?” “important information,”
“justice for Bhopal now!” etc. Always smile and look
people in the eyes as you’re handing them things.
..........• Have several people
there, to catch people moving in all directions. Besides, single
leafletters look lonely and insecure, and probably feel that way
..........• Don’t spend
too much time debating people who have strong opposite opinions.
It’s generally a waste of time, though it can alleviate the
monotony of leafleting.
..........• Be prepared to shrug
off snide comments. Don’t let them dampen your cheerful enthusiasm!
Circulate your event listing by email to people you know, organizations/
groups who would be interested and to any listservs you belong to.
Post your event listing on the web. Many community, organization
and government websites have event listings. Do a bit of research
beforehand to find suitable places to put up your posting.
Attend events and participate in projects related to yours and make
an announcement and/or set up an information table.
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